Origins and Development

April 1974: Photographic exhibition entitled ‘The Architecture of Parnell Square’ is held in the Exhibition Hall of Trinity College’s New Library, organised by Dr Edward McParland of Trinity’s History of Art Department, with photographs by David Davison.

June 1975: As a direct result of the success of the Parnell Square exhibition, Ireland’s Architectural Heritage: The Case for an Archive of Photographic Material is published by Nicholas Robinson and Edward McParland. They argue that a national architectural photographic archive is one of the essential cultural institutions of any country and suggest how such an archive could be established and run.

April 1976: The board of directors of a newly created private limited company known as the National Trust Archive (NTA), established to act as a Irish architectural photographic archive, meets for the first time with Nicholas Robinson as Chairman and Edward McParland as Company Secretary.

November 1976: Nicholas Sheaff is appointed first Director of the NTA.

November 1977: The NTA Reading Room opens to the public. The NTA is housed on two floors of 63 Merrion Square, space made available by the Royal Society of the Antiquaries of Ireland.

March 1979: The NTA mounts its first exhibition, a display of photographs from the growing collections, in the Crawford Gallery, Cork.

April 1981: The NTA changes its name to the Irish Architectural Archive (IAA).

November 1981: Alistair Rowan succeeds Nicholas Robinson as Chairman of the IAA.

October 1984: William Garner succeeds Nicholas Sheaff as Director of the IAA.

June 1985: Government provides support for the IAA for the first time in the form of a once-off grant from the Department of the Taoiseach.

1986: Annual grants-in-aid from the Department of the Taoiseach (later Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism) and the Department of the Environment, Local Government (later Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government) begin.

September 1987: Nicholas Robinson succeeds Alistair Rowan as Chairman of the Archive.

January 1988: David Griffin succeeds William Garner as Director of the Archive.

November 1988: The IAA, in conjunction with the Irish Georgian Society, publishes its first book, Vanishing Country Houses of Ireland by the Knight of Glin, Nicholas Robinson and David Griffin,.

February 1992: The IAA moves to 73 Merrion Square, a building provided by the Office of Public Works. The Archive’s new home is officially opened by Charles Haughey TD.

September 1993: Edward McParland succeeds Nicholas Robinson as Chairman of the IAA.

January 1994: The position of Archive Administrator is created, and Colum O’Riordan is appointed to the post.

March 1994: Padraig O hUiginn succeeds Edward McParland as Chairman of the IAA.

February 1995: An examination of the potential of 73 Merrion Square to provide permanent accommodation for the IAA concludes that it can only do so if major works on site are undertaken. The Board begins to examine the possibility of moving.

December 1996: 45 Merrion Square is assigned to the IAA by Finance Minister Ruairí Quinn in his budget statement.

February 1998: Brendan O’Donoghue succeeds Padraig O hUiginn as Chairman of the IAA.

October 2001: Michael Webb succeeds Brendan O’Donoghue as Chairman of the IAA.

June 2002: Final planning permission is granted for works to transform 45 Merrion Square into a suitable home for the Archive.

April 2003: The main contractor begins work at 45 Merrion Square.

October 2004: The IAA moves to 45 Merrion Square.

January 2005: 45 Merrion Square opens to the public.